WABI-SABI

The Japanese view of life embraced.  A simple aesthetic
that grew stronger as inessentials were eliminated
and trimmed away.

-architect Tadao Ando

“What do you want?” , he asks.

“Peace, peace and tranquility”, she replies.

I’m becoming more reflective in my mid years. I think about almost everything and the importance of each thought; the importance of my surroundings, my existence in this world. I weigh each activity and determine if it’s just being busy, or being purposeful.

I can’t stop thinking and reflecting; thinking and reflecting and taking inventory of what is most precious to me; what really matters.

It’s not stuff. It’s not money. It’s not what I’ve accumulated and saved over time.  It’s not that some things don’t have a sentimental value, but when I look around and survey the whatnots that I’ve collected over the years, I reconsider what importance they had from the beginning.

Photographs: Yes, definitely important; optical memories of occasions and persons that imprint the spatial part of my brain that holds the treasures of my past.

Furniture and collectibles : A few antique or semi-antique pieces handed down from grandparent to parent to me, that decorate the tabletops, bookcases, and walls; filling the once empty spaces and surfaces of my home with their decorative contribution. Add these to what my husband and I have purchased over time and the house becomes a home, the couch becomes a nest for rest, the dining table becomes a ledge to perch the food and drink consumed by those who gather at it’s perimeter and whom I love; making yet more memories.

Clothing: Where to begin? None of it really matters. I’ve even discarded my wedding dresses. Yes, I said dresses…there were two. Clothes that mark decades of fashion, years of  “figure transformations” and some styles that defy any reason for purchase. Closets and drawers that contain more than I will ever wear.

Wabi-Sabi. Wabi-Sabi. . . . I like the sound. I like even better it’s meaning; it’s translation as best as a westerner can understand it.

Sounds deep, but not too deep. Wabi-sabi’s roots lie in Zen Buddhism, which was brought from China to Japan by Eisai, a twelfth-century monk. Zen, with its principles of vast emptiness and nothing holy, stresses austerity, communion with nature, and above all, reverence for everyday life as the real path to enlightenment. Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came.

Wabi stems from the root wa, which refers to harmony, peace, tranquillity, and balance. Generally speaking, wabi had the original meaning of sad, desolate, and lonely, but poetically it has come to mean simple, unmaterialistic, humble by choice, and in tune with nature. Someone who is perfectly herself and never craves to be anything else would be described as wabi. A wabi person epitomizes Zen, which is to say, he or she is content with very little; free from greed, indolence, and anger; and understands the wisdom of rocks and grasshoppers.

I am fascinated by rocks. (Remember from my previous post, An Ugly Truth, that I keep a gray, jagged and ugly rock  on my windowsill to remind me that the edges of my human nature to judge, need to be worn away by the hands of my creator, until I’m smoother and more loving). On my daily walks, I study the surfaces of rocks; their shape, color, size, imprints and age. They mark the history of the earth and hold the secrets of it’s formation. I’m truly in awe and can’t help but stare and question where did they come from and like a child I wonder, will God be making more?

Sabi by itself means “the bloom of time.” It connotes natural progression-tarnish, hoariness, rust-the extinguished gloss of that which once sparkled. It’s the understanding that beauty is fleeting.

Sabi things carry the burden of their years with dignity and grace: the chilly mottled surface of an oxidized silver bowl, the yielding gray of weathered wood, the elegant withering of a bereft autumn bough. An old car left in a field to rust, as it transforms from an eyesore into a part of the landscape, could be considered America’s contribution to the evolution of sabi. An abandoned barn, as it collapses in on itself, holds this mystique.

Over time, the patina of my life  is evident on the surface of my skin and the lines that define the passage of time on my face reveal the joy and sorrow that I carry in my heart, and as time peels away the layers of clutter that I wear,  I choose to be free of greed, indolence and anger becoming the person content to be herself.

“What do you want”, he asks.

“Wabi Sabi”, she replies.

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FOR EVERY SEASON PART II

I’m feeling a little rusty these days as I’ve not been putting my thoughts down on paper or in WordPress. I’ve written a few songs, but got away from daily blogging and The Quest has been adrift without her captain. I apologize to my shipmates. I’ve been rehearsing with my band the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, by The Byrds, and thinking about the many turns that life takes. I’ve asked the members of the group to provide pictures from their “early years” so that I can put together a video collage  and we’ve all had a good laugh as we looked at the changes in our faces, bodies, hair (or lack of in some cases), clothing, weight, etc., as we’ve matured over the years.

I look at the pictures of my kids and grand kids and realize that I’m on the road or the expressway of life and like the Corvette that zooms by me in the passing zone; the seasons likewise are rapidly going by.

Without realizing it, POOF ! Another year, another decade, another season has passed. Did I even enjoy it? Did I live in the moment? Did I embrace what was going on all around me, or did I merely keep my nose to the grind stone and not observe what was right under my nose? Did I enjoy my childhood? I’m pretty sure I did. Did I discover my identity in my teen years, including the heart ache that comes from  self-doubt and insecurities; yet breathlessly yearning for something more with the recognition of my budding womanhood? Partially. Did I realize my talents and set goals for a fantastically exotic and fulfilling life? Well, I had dreams but I was lousy at setting goals. I more or less had visions of what I thought my life would be, but hadn’t a clue how to make it happen; so I often found myself flying by the seat of my pants and catching up to the consequences of my choices. I don’t think I’m alone here. I envy those who have a plan, stick to it and accomplish almost everything they set out to do.  I’m not just referring to the ones who focused on education and career, but those who broke out of the mold, took risks, and created a life beyond the borders of our community. I assume they are now living the fantastically exotic life that I once thought would be mine.

An impatient college dropout, I married young, lived in Germany for a year, crossed the ocean again, moved to the desert, had two kids and divorced soon after the infamous 7 year anniversary. Another chapter over. POOF! Where did that time go? Then the next many years I spent raising my brood, working my tail off so I could afford to give them a nice life and looking for Mr. Right; whom I did eventually find. POOF! Twenty years gone…was I there?

Childhood memories, scholastic experiences, marriage, the birth of children, the undertaking of new assignments, the passing of beloved parents, discovering ones self as the years unfold are all a progression of this woman’s life. I only wish that I had photographed each moment, each precious drop of kindness, every smile, every tear, permanently marking the facets of my experiences and memories to open like a well-worn scrapbook when I need a reminder of what I’ve gained and learned along the way.

Oh, I know I’m talking like I have amnesia, but sometimes I realize that I’ve not always been present in my life, and it’s been MY life; and now it’s more important than ever that I enjoy the seasons that are left, because the other ones are never coming back no matter how many times I click my heels together.

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything, 
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die, 
   a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, 
   a time to tear down and a time to build, 
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
   a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 
 6 a time to search and a time to give up, 
   a time to keep and a time to throw away, 
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, 
   a time to be silent and a time to speak, 
 8 a time to love and a time to hate, 
   a time for war and a time for peace.

Turn, Turn, Turn….

Dreama

HIATUS

HIATUS: a lull, pause, break, gap, space, interval, interruption…time away. That’s me, Dreama, I’ve been away. Well not really away. Not on a vacation. Not out-of-town on business. Just away. Away from writing. Away from connecting with others. Away from the helm of The Quest.

I looked at my last post and realized that it was in June. In my real life you may recall that my husband and I have a restaurant and a catering business, and wow have we been busy this summer! I shouldn’t complain, business is good. Good for us, our employees,  our wallet (that makes paying the bills easier), but not so good for the motivation or inspiration to create and write, to think and dream, to keep the ship afloat.

Every weekend has been filled with catering parties and that entails a lot of hard work. Buying supplies, shopping, prepping food, preparing lists, finalizing arrangements and menus with clients, visiting the catering location, scheduling staff, packing items, loading items onto our trailer, van and other vehicles, unloading, setting up, serving, cleaning up, packing up, traveling, and unloading back at home base. Ready… set… go…sometimes 3 parties in one weekend; prepared and served at your location, delivered at your location or ready to pick up. I’m pooped just writing this all down.

I want to acknowledge what a great staff we have. They’ve worked their buns off and represented our business professionally  in our community. We’ve worked side by side, 7 days a week and sweated through some of the hottest, muggiest, summer heat or rain that we’ve seen in some time. Our college bound employees now have some extra money to meet their expenses. Our full-time staff have extra money put away for the holidays, and our customers had some fantastic parties with wonderful food!

It’s been a good season, but I’m looking forward to climbing back on board The Quest to see where she sails.

What have the months of summer brought for you? I hope it’s been terrific and  please share your experiences with us!

Dreama

AN UGLY TRUTH

Dear friends,

It seems  the older we get, the more we acquire; not only in material things, but also the experiences that come from living life. No one goes through life without the ups and downs, the struggles, the hardships, the joys and celebrations that accumulate as the years add up. The more candles we have on our cake, the more stories we have to tell.

As we find more gray hairs on our head, acknowledge that the wrinkled one looking back at us in the mirror is ourself,  or view the collection of books on our  shelves (or generations of shoes in our closets), we also continue to accumulate the character building aspects that make up the fabric of who we are as individuals; more courage, strength, attitude, wisdom and spirit. As least that’s what I hope we acquire.

From tackling our first real job, to finding our mate (hopefully for life), from career moves and homemaking to child rearing and aging parent care giving, there is a path that we journey sharing  many similarities to that of a friend, co-worker or another family member. Often we confide the most secret and uncomfortable places within us with those whose confidence we’ve come to trust. We also share our happiness, our milestones and new adventures that we are undertaking so that others will share in our joy and success. It is a true mix of emotions and women are all about emotions. One day we are rejoicing in all the goodness life has to offer, and the next day we are positive that nothing will go right ever again.

I have friends in my life who are at this very moment facing serious illness. Some who are hurting financially, are unemployed, are care givers to elderly parents, or are supporting gown children. Many stressors are heaped upon a women’s shoulders. Many days and nights to get through without a clear picture of what they will face next. Finding myself sympathetic and compassionate to those who face adversity, I want to comfort, console and be a shoulder to lean on. I also want to provide a positive spirit of hope where there seems to be no apparent hope in sight. But I might be kidding myself to think that they are feeling any self-pity, any discouragement or self-doubt, because these are some of the bravest women I know.

It’s I who comes away with their spirit of hope; it’s I who finds courage in their bravery. It’s I who benefits from their candid reveal of life!

I also have friends and acquaintances who seem not to have a blemish on them. Their lives appear perfect and perfectly ordered; skipping through life, sheltered, pampered and showered with goodies.  So I wonder, do I really know them or am I only assuming that they have it better than I? Do I inwardly covet their external appearance and affluence while smiling and loathing all at the same time? Do I despise the green monster within me?

You bet I do.  It’s not flattering, it serves no purpose and it definitely makes me feel ugly inside….

                                                    … Yet it’s there…Ugh!

For me, judging is a difficult thing to correct. In my April 21st blog titled, “Who Me?”  I revealed three things to give up: controlling, judging and being right. Lately it’s judging that is rearing its ugly head. I find myself making assumptions, criticizing and projecting my opinions without a lick of real information to stand on. If I’ve not walked in another’s moccasins or heels, where do I get off pronouncing judgement? I apologize. I sincerely do.

“Dreama, how would you like your crow cooked?”  “How ’bout a nice slice of humble pie to go with that guilt?”

A few days ago, I set out to find the perfect stone. Not a nice smooth pretty one, but a sharp, jagged, ugly one to match my inclination to judge first and get the accurate information later. I’ll use it to remind myself  that unless I’m without sin, then I should not cast the first stone. (Thank you Jesus, and my friend Mary, for this valuable lesson).

Yesterday the rock felt more like a boulder. It definitely had some weight to it, but thankfully as I was about to let my mouth runneth over, I was able to head the negativity off at the pass and just let it go. Free at last! How liberating to know that I didn’t have to have an opinion or at least I didn’t have to share it with the world! I didn’t have to spread the seed of negativity and I could just merely shrug off the inclination to expose another’s faults, or at least my perception of their faults.

I’m not casting a stone…not today! Just for today, I can keep the stone in my pocket, or the mental image of it safely tucked away until the day I’m without sin, and that won’t be until I take the big dirt nap!

I dedicate this entry in memory of my mom. I cannot ever recall a moment when I ever heard her say a negative comment about anyone. She did not gossip, she did not complain, she did not need a jagged stone to remind her how casting a stone really hurts and diminishes another human being. I miss you mom, but thank you for your life lessons, your humility and your grace.

So that’s where I find myself today; trying to correct a flaw in my character so that I might gain wisdom by acknowledging and eliminating some of  my personal deficits. I’m hoping to continue to acquire more courage, strength, attitude, and wisdom with a sprinkling of humility and a spirit of grace thrown in for good measure!

If you would like to share how your life experiences have given you insight to the person you have become, I look forward to your comments.

Best to all….Dreama

WHO ME?

I keep a manila folder on my desk. It hides under the computer keyboard. The contents of the folder are of  inspirational messages that I’ve down loaded, lyrics to music that inspire me, and reminders of my many blessings.

Today, as I searched through the folder (to find some pearls of wisdom), I came across the following:

“There are only three things you need to let go of: judging, controlling, and being right. Release these three and you will have the whole mind and twinkly heart of a child.”

                                                             ~Hugh Prather~

“Of course”, I thought to myself, “this would have to have been penned by a man!” “No woman in her right mind would ever think of letting go of these three things.” I’d also like to add guilt to the list, but that’s another topic.

So away I go to GOOGLE Mr. Prather…(excerpt from his 2010 obituary)

Hugh Prather, a self-help author whose first book, “Notes to Myself,” put an aphoristic finger on the pulse of the ’70s, has sold more than five million copies and inspired the long-running “Saturday Night Live” segment “Deep Thoughts,” died on Nov. 15 at his home in Tucson. He was 72. Mr. Prather died in his hot tub, apparently of a heart attack, his wife, Gayle, said.

photo: Steve Northup

Hugh Prather, artist and writer, home in Santa Fe in 1977.

What a way to go Hugh, soaking in your hot tub! With my luck I’d have a heart attack while cleaning it!

Obviously, I mean this man no postmortem malace, but really, if I could possibly give up these three things, what would I replace them with?

Let’s see, um, oh..I know, in place of judging I’ll practice, uh…ummm.., okay instead of controlling I’ll be more, aaaaa, ummm, okay, now I’ve got it; if I can’t be right, I can be…. Well this is just awful and it will take some contemplation and change of behavior and maybe some Divine intervention. Do I really want “the whole mind and twinkly heart of a child?”

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

                                                                ~ Jesus of Nazareth ~

Who am I to debate the Savior?

After reading a little bit more about Mr. Prather, I learned he was a spiritual man, but not a man who lived without his share of experiencing some of life’s cruelties. Along his journey for spiritual growth, he combined elements of  Buddhism, Christianity and other traditions in his life until he finally became a lay minister and counselor at a Methodist church in Tucson, AZ.

So perhaps he had to let go of a few things to survive and to develop his character; shedding the unflattering cloak of judgement, control and self-righteousness, and chose instead to develop his “twinkly heart of a child”.

Rest in peace Hugh, and thanks for reminding me that there is always room for improvement!

Dreama asks: “What can you do (or let go of) to develop the whole mind and twinkly heart of a child?” Please leave a comment (upper left corner of post-under the date)


WEEK-Ending…

Well, it’s Saturday and it’s rainy, windy and just plain miserable. The daffodils outside look like they wish they could put on rain coat and the birds appear ready for a hot cup of tea. So for today, and the remainder of this weekend, I’ve decided that I’m due for a little downtime.

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Like many who rush about all week with the normal routines and throwing in some extra activities just to make sure we’ve used EVERY POSSIBLE MINUTE, I normally use the weekend to catch up on the projects nagging me at home and wake up Monday morning wondering where the time went, and why I don’t feel rested!  Sound familiar?

Join me in giving yourself permission to order take-out, refuse to see the dust and laundry piling up, and pick up the magazines that you haven’t read since the holiday issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Just take a deep breath to relax, restore and nurture YOU! Hubby can handle a few things, like throwing in a load of wash, and the kids can pitch in with housework. Tell them you’re taking a day off! Indulge!

Asian Family

“Honey, can you take the kids for new shoes?!”

At my house, when the grandkids come over, I hand them a “Swiffer” duster and give them each a room (or two) to dust; then we make it a contest to see who can clean the best. I know that this won’t last forever, but I’m enjoying their youthful enthusiasm and I have dust-free shelves!

The only catching up I will do this weekend is to get in an extra hour or two of sleep. I’ll bring a book off the shelf to entertain my mind, and I’ll spend some time in the church sanctuary to rekindle my spirit and reflect on this holy Easter time.

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The important thing is to carve out some time to reconnect with who you are and what interests you; to engage in the activities that remind you that you are uniquely individual.

If the aromas of a home-cooked meal and baking cookies gives you satisfaction, then by all means get in the kitchen.

Woman is cooking meal in kitchen - Sexy woman chef is...

If soaking in a hot tub with bubbles up to your ears eases away the stress, then I say, “soak until you look like a prune”!

If being outdoors is your thing; preparing the gardens and disposing of the winter leftovers, bringing you the added benefit of  producing the kind of deep sleep that can only be experienced by “over-doing it” in the yard, then dig, prune and rake like a mad woman!

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There will be no more blogging on Saturdays or Sundays ladies. Monday will come soon enough.

Peace and love to all,

Dreama

HOME “TWEET” HOME!

 

Red Robin

Well spring has finally arrived here in Northeast Pennsylvania. The daffodils and narcissus have sprung from their winter resting places and now poke proudly through the ground waiting to show their stuff! I particularly like these flowers because the deer do not eat them and I can enjoy their beauty indoors as well as out. But the one sure sign for me that the weather is about to turn for good, and the atmosphere will be heating up, is the return of the Robins. Unfortunately they usually appear somewhere in mid March and freeze their tail feathers off while old man winter hits us with more snow, sleet, freezing rain and freezing temps. I look out the window and see them perched in tree branches, feathers all fluffed out as they try to stay warm and think to myself, “Why do you return so early little birds? Don’t you realize that Mother Nature can be cruel”?

Once the snow has melted, hopefully for good, the Robins’ internal alarm clock goes off and the nest-building begins. Each year for the past 7 or 8 years, we have had the pleasure of watching  Mrs. Robin build several nests on the eves of our front porch, sometimes producing 2 to 3 broods. Yes, you heard me right, Mrs. Robin selects the site, feathers her nest and does the labor…sound familiar ladies?

Early one morning as I take our dogs out for a walk, I notice that the nest- building materials begin to gather on the sidewalk, stairs and porch floor. The twigs and straw-like materials gather while Mrs. Robin builds the shell before securing it with a mud-like material made from (of all things), worm excrement! The Robins definitely have a thing with worms, from the main course to re-purposing the poop.  Mother Nature has been ardently recycling long before we humans ever thought about it.

Playing hostess to this family year after year got the better of my curiosity, so I went on line to learn more about these fascinating birds. I learned about their habitat, home-building, food requirements, brood raising, and a little known fact that if they consume a few too many honeysuckle berries, they become intoxicated!

Cheers to you my feathered friends, welcome home!

Dreama

Too learn more about Robins or the native birds in your neighborhood go to: http://www.allaboutbirds.org

For Every Season – Part I

She receives a long distance call from her friend, and Dreama hears the sobs in her voice, the sniffle of her nose and the words, “I just needed to talk to someone”. Dreama anticipated hearing from her, but not now. She anticipated the dreaded call that said, “my sister is gone”, but what Dreama heard was, “I needed to talk to someone”.

How hard it is to say goodbye to those we love; to those closest to us who know us inside and out, who share our DNA and our history. But that time does come for all of us. Along with our grief comes a feeling of gratitude for the love, the memories and the bonds shared by family, mother, father, sister, brother, spouse or friend; or perhaps it is the final chapter of a relationship filled with anger, jealousy and resentment. Saying goodbye is different for each individual, but we all one day must say goodbye. For some it is the end, and for some it is just the beginning. For some it is an immeasurable grief, and for some it is a relief. Yes, death brings a roller coaster of emotions.

For those of us left behind, we mourn our loss, tearfully and awkwardly laugh at the memories of happier, sillier times; the arguments, the distance, the making up. It’s all a part of being human.

So now the call; no words adequate, just an ear…”I’m here for you and I care”, she says. That’s all.
I’m glad you called me. I’m glad that of all the people you could have called, that you called me; she thinks silently to herself. You’re in my heart my friend, and I’ll be here when you return. We’ll cry together, share memories and laugh awkwardly about silly things.

Dreama hangs up the phone, closes her eyes and says a prayer for her friend and for her sister who is now ready to go where there is no pain, no suffering, no tears. In their Christian faith, they know that they will be together again; in another season, into the light, to a place prepared for them in a mansion where there are many rooms.

Erin Go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Irish and to those who are Irish just for today. Tis a great day to tink happy toughts and to share a bit O the Jameson wit friends! As you know the Irish do not have the “th” sound so just for today, try speaking with a brogue,  tink sunny toughts and dance a jig!

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you!

Erin Go Bragh….Dreama

POTPOURRI

As a young women Dreama made some potpourri that was a blend of fragrant herbs & spices, leaves, flowers, etc. and put them in a bowl or basket to fill the air with an earthy, fragrant aroma. After a while the mix lost its’ scent and Dreama was left with dried up, dusty bits of mother earth. While the original project was eye appealing and fragrant, she realized that you must keep the mix fresh and add new items from time to time.

Help Dreama keep the potpourri current and fresh by adding your blend to the mix!

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